We asked Stephen Daniels for a workshop activity. Get your pens ready!
‘Wordslast’ is a poem from Stephen’s debut collection.
It started life as a workshop poem, written in one of Hilda Sheehan’s workshops. Stephen shared the poem during his interview earlier and now shares the exercise.
We read a poem called ‘deer suddenly’ by Carola Luther (the start of the poem can be found here here) – in the poem the poet pushes together words to add pace, to surprise and for originality.
I was then asked to try the same – push words together, maybe even pull them apart and see what happens to your writing.
My poem ‘Wordslast’ does something similar but I used the reversal of these pushed together words to drive the narrative. I think this technique is a good way of surprising yourself with writing, and the experimentation can help us find a way into subjects that can be tough for us to access otherwise.
Pull two books off a shelf at random. Open each to a random page and copy down whatever sentence your finger first lands on. Then write the shortest, most natural bridge between the two sentences, making it seem like the both come from the same book.
Attempt to write one full paragraph. Feel free to copy them into the comments below.
It is important that you don’t censor yourself in this writing activity. It is just for you (unless you want to share it in the comments). Try to write freely, do not filter your thoughts, just get them all down. You can always redraft later.
Write a Letter to your Younger Self.
Write a letter to yourself at a younger age, it could be your child-self or the person you were just a few years or decades ago.
You can offer compassion, forgiveness, advice, whatever you feel comes through.
It helps if you try to imagine the younger self you are writing to as a different person.
In the comments below maybe you would like to share the core message of your letter.